Achieving Styles 2017-04-10T09:46:32-07:00

Achieving Styles™

Achieving Styles™ are the nine underlying behavioral strategies that individuals characteristically call upon to achieve their goals.

Connective Leadership™ offers an important perspective for bringing together diverse, even conflicting, groups that exist in an interdependent environment. Achieving Styles™ are the nine underlying behavioral strategies that individuals characteristically call upon to achieve their goals.

The Connective Leadership™/Achieving Styles™ Model includes three sets of Achieving Styles™: Direct, Instrumental, and Relational. Each set comprises three individual styles, resulting in a nine-fold repertoire.

No individual style is intrinsically better than any other. Rather, the purpose of the Connective Leadership™/Achieving Styles™ Model is to identify leadership strategies based on Achieving Styles™ and to call attention to the wide range of behaviors available to all leaders. Those leaders who employ the broadest and most flexible leadership repertoire are most likely to meet the complex challenges of the Connective Era.

People who prefer the direct set of behavioral styles tend to confront their own tasks individually and directly (hence the ‘direct’ label). The three styles within the direct set emphasize deriving intrinsic satisfaction from mastering the task, outdoing others through competitive action, and using power to take charge and coordinate everyone and everything. These are the styles most closely linked to diversity and its various expressions of individualism.
People who prefer this style are very self-motivated. They do not wait for others to help them. They look within themselves, both for motivation and for standards of excellence. Even when others assure them that the job they have done is good enough, they are often dissatisfied, particularly if they do not feel they have given it their best shot. They enjoy the sense of autonomy that comes from not having to rely on others. Being in control of themselves and how they do the task gives them a sense of intellectual and creative freedom. They look within themselves for the resources to perform any given task. Tasks that represent a real challenge interest them, regardless of whether or not they will receive any external reward. Doing a task well is reward enough for them. They know what needs to be done, and they usually can articulate that vision for others.
People who prefer this style get great satisfaction from performing a task better than anybody else. Being “number one” is what counts for them. Competition motivates them to do their best. It turns them on. Oftentimes, if a situation does not involve a competitive element, they lose interest. To avoid this, they frequently turn non-competitive situations into contests. If they do not come in first, they are disappointed, but not discouraged. They go back again and again, until they finally succeed.
People who prefer this style like to be in charge of everything: the agenda, the task, events, people, and resources. Leadership positions attract them and give zest and meaning to their activities. They have much less interest in situations that require them to be a follower, since they usually feel that they can do better than the current leader. They are very good at coordinating and organizing people and events. They know how to commandeer resources and use them to take charge and get things done. Most of the time, they understand and act upon the need for delegating tasks to others. When they delegate, however, they tend to keep control of the end result. Since they do not relinquish responsibility for the task, they tend to monitor the delegated activity rather closely.
People who prefer to work on group tasks or to help others attain their goals draw on behaviors described in the relational set. The three relational styles emphasize taking vicarious satisfaction from facilitating and observing the accomplishments of others, as mentors do; taking a secondary or contributory role to help others accomplish their tasks; and working in a collaborative or team mode on a group task.
People who prefer this style enjoy accomplishing a task by doing it with others, from a single collaborator to a team. Faced with a task, their first response is to call upon one or several others to participate in the project. They feel an added surge of enthusiasm and creativity when they do things with others. Working in isolation rarely turns them on, and they usually try to avoid it. People who prefer this style enjoy the camaraderie of working with others and feel devoted to the group and its goals. They are willing to do their portion of the work, but they also expect to receive their fair share of the prize. If the team does not succeed, they stalwartly accept their proper measure of responsibility.
People who prefer this style like to work behind the scenes to help others accomplish their tasks. They take satisfaction from doing their part well so that the “front” person or group is successful. They know that their contribution has made a difference to the other party’s success, and this gives them a satisfying sense of accomplishment. They see themselves as a partner in the other person’s task, but they also understand that the major accomplishment belongs to the other person. They are pleased to participate in important undertakings and often volunteer to help others whose goals they respect.
People who prefer this style derive a real sense of accomplishment from the success of others with whom they identify. They know how to be a good mentor, offering encouragement and guidance to others. They are happy to support other individuals and groups with reassurance, direction, and praise, but they do not get into the act themselves, even behind the scenes. They feel very comfortable as spectators or supporters of others who are the main achievers, rather than as a direct participant in the task. Their sense of pride in the success of others is sufficient reward; they do not need to take credit for their accomplishments.
The instrumental set reflects those behaviors described in the accompanying article as ‘denatured Machiavellianism.’ The political savvy embedded in the instrumental styles helps to diminish the sparks created by the friction among people and groups with different agendas. The three instrumental styles emphasize using one’s personal strengths to attract supporters, creating and working through social networks and alliances, and entrusting various aspects of one’s vision to others. Individuals who use themselves and others as instruments for accomplishing organizational goals prefer the instrumental styles.
People who prefer this style tend to use their personality, intelligence, wit, humor, charm, personal appearance, family background, and previous achievements as instruments for further success. Their charm usually convinces others to help in their task. They have a flair for public speaking, dramatic gestures, symbolism, timing, and costume, selecting just the right symbols and presentation of self to convey the core meaning and importance of their task. Their knack for making counter-intuitive, or unexpected, gestures takes both their supporters and opponents by surprise, often overriding others’ rational resistance and zeroing in on their emotions. People who prefer the Personal Instrumental Style are often perceived as charismatic because their personal charm and wit attract others to their cause. Usually, they are very persuasive, using well-honed negotiating and mediating skills to resolve conflicts.
People who prefer this style tend to accomplish things by involving other people whose special skills or experience are relevant to the task at hand. They like to do things through other people, and they always recognize the connections between people and tasks. They keep good mental notes about the specific talents, knowledge, and contacts of everyone they meet and easily link them to appropriate tasks. They have strong political and networking skills, which they call upon comfortably. They keep in touch with a large network of people, who feel remembered, liked, and ready to help them. They gladly put associates who need assistance in touch with just the right helper. They are more likely to pick up the telephone and call someone for information than to go to the library or database to dig it out for themselves. Their network is their database.

People who prefer this style tend to know how to make other people feel that they are counting on them. Their confidence in others makes those selected feel they can do the task, even if they have no specifically relevant experience. People who prefer the Entrusting Instrumental Style entrust their goals and tasks to others and believe that those others can accomplish the task as well as, or even better than, they can on their own. When they entrust a task to an associate, they generally expect that person to come through with minimal supervision. Their entrusting behavior usually has the effect of empowering those on whom they rely, although, at the outset, the people they select may quietly wish for more explicit directions and advice. Nonetheless, people who prefer this style excel at bringing out the best in others. In most cases, they simply expect everyone around them to help with their tasks. They engage in “leadership by expectation.” They are less concerned than the Social Instrumental achiever/leader with selecting just the right person for a specific task, because they believe that people will reach within themselves to live up to their high expectations.